Respect the Power: Powerline Safety Awareness Week
May 11-17, 2019 urges Ontarians to be mindful of powerlines
Powerline Safety Awareness Week in Ontario is a time to be reminded of the importance of staying clear of overhead and underground powerlines, particularly when working, doing household chores or having fun outside.
Tragically every year people in Ontario are killed or critically injured from contact with powerlines and electrical utility equipment,” said Scott Saint, ESA’s Chief Public Safety Officer. “We need everyone to recognize and respect the power and take some simple, yet life-saving safety precautions.”
“As the Victoria Day long weekend approaches, I urge all Ontarians to take a moment to increase their own and their family’s powerline safety knowledge,” said David Orazietti, Minister of Government and Consumer Services. “Taking the time to learn more now can prevent a tragedy later.”
Five Ways to Respect the Power
- Locate the lines. Before starting any outdoor job whether at work or at home, first look up, look out and locate. Then keep track of where they are as you move around so you’re always mindful of the powerlines.
- Keep yourself and equipment a safe distance away.For the kind of powerlines that connect a house to the poles on the street, keep yourself and any equipment (ladders, pruners, tall vehicles, etc.) at least one metre away. For the higher voltage lines that run down streets, stay at least three metres away. Not only is making contact very dangerous but even coming close to the line can cause the electricity to jump or ‘arc’ through the air and contact you or your equipment.
- Never attach or drape anything on a powerline.Never brace a ladder against a line or near its point of contact to a building. Don’t run other lines like antennas or cables on or near powerlines. And never grab a line for balance when working at heights.
- Carry equipment horizontally. Carry ladders, pruners and other long equipment on their side, not vertically as they could connect or attract arcing from an overhead line.
- Plant trees away from overhead powerlines. If your trees have grown into or close to powerlines, contact your local utility. Do not trim trees around powerlines yourself. And call before you dig to ensure underground cables and other utility equipment are located and marked.
For more tree trimming and landscaping tips, visit esasafe.com.
Test your Electrical Safety Knowledge with the below Myths& Facts:
MYTH: I’m just trimming tree limbs, I won’t be using a ladder so I don’t need to worry.
FACT: Anything that touches a powerline – a pruning tool, the tree limb or your hand can give you a shock, burn or kill you. Better idea: call an arborist or your local electric utility and have one of their trained arborists trim the tree for you safely.
MYTH: I’m just digging a couple of feet into the ground. I don’t need to worry about underground lines.
FACT: The lines may be closer than you think or a grading change may have occurred over time. Better to be safe than sorry. Call before you dig — it’s the law! Call Ontario One Call to get a cable locate.
MYTH: If a powerline falls on my car, I should get out and run to safety right away.
FACT: The car and the ground around it may be electrified and you could be killed if you get out of the vehicle. Stay inside until the utility workers tell you it’s safe to get out. Tell everyone to stay back 10 metres or 33 feet.
MYTH: To get a shock or burn, I need to actually touch a powerline.
FACT: Just getting too close could cause you to receive a severe shock, burn or even kill you. Electricity can jump or ‘arc’ through the air to you or an object that gets too close. Always stay at least three metres or 10 feet away from powerlines.
MYTH: I can use a wooden stick to prop up a powerline or to knock down a toy that’s tangled in a powerline.
FACT: Even wood can conduct electricity. Never touch or come close to a powerline. Contact your local utility if you need assistance.
MYTH: A powerline that’s been knocked down doesn’t have electricity flowing through it, so it’s safe to be near it or move it out of the way.
FACT: Always assume a downed powerline still has electricity flowing through it, even if it isn’t sparking. Stay back at least 10 metres or 33 feet (that’s about the length of a school bus), call 911 and the local utility.
For more Myths & Facts & other Powerline Safety connect to the following:
How dangerous are overhead power lines? – Lucky the Squirrel learns the hard way how dangerous overhead power lines can be, in the below link to ESA’s video.